Fake reviews have become frequent and abundant on the internet to the point of becoming a real issue for some major platforms like Amazon, which have made it their priority. Automatic detection systems are not always effective and convictions for fraudsters sometimes have little effect.
Fake reviews developed by companies
We often imagine that someone from the company applied to create fake reviews. In fact, a few companies have specialized in this area, some of which claim to have hundreds of thousands of users. In exchange for fake reviews, those who write fake reviews receive gifts, free products, or payments in exchange for fake reviews. In the same way as for “likes” where few paid them, companies have multiplied in the field with different business models. It should be noted that some companies are specialized according to platforms and Facebook in particular is particularly popular with foreign companies to communicate in Europe.
False reviews are not only used for fun or to defame a competitor, they work above all to impress consumers. According to another 2018 IFOP study, 31% of consumers can spend more if the rating is “excellent” and 68% trust it more when they see both positive and negative reviews. Already, a figure close to the new study showed that 74% of internet users would have given up on purchases following negative comments. But this is not the only function because on some platforms, opinion is often taken into account and it is the most recent one that weighs in on the rating of a product, which can mechanically order the product.
example of amazon battle
Amazon has been particularly affected by fake reviews and has been making this a priority since 2016. This has particularly taken down two companies, AppSally and Rebtest, which allegedly acted as fake review brokers. The fight is well underway and Amazon has set a purchase limit to be able to issue a notice (about 44 euros) and sanction some sellers who use it. However, according to one study, it takes an average of thirty-three days for Amazon to detect a false review, even though it is the freshest one that has the most impact. Amazon continues its fight against fake reviews:
We’ve seen an increasing number of bad actors demand fake reviews outside of Amazon, especially on social media (…) so as to hinder our ability to trace their activity. [Il est] Clearly, this battle is now being played across the industry, and we need to work together to move forward.
How do you deal with fake reviews for your business?
Reviews of your business can obviously harm you, especially if they become your competition or haters, for example, that are original. One third of them will be false. If you think this only happens to others, better know the ways to get rid of it.
Step 1: Detect Fake Reviews
For starters, a fake review is often prompted by language that is out of the ordinary in its aggression. If a review goes particularly viral, you can guess that it may be fake. True negative feedback is often polite and measured. They will also be less specific with vague reviews. When an experience is real, it is usually riddled with particular details.
To spot a fake review from your competition, you can also check if they’re not doing the opposite on your competitors’ website, with a little bit of praise. If you find a commentator who at the same time gives a very positive opinion, that’s often a clue. Conversely, if you consistently get tons of positive reviews, you can quickly tell yourself that it’s fake customers who are basically (but in general it’s you who ordered them).
Step 2: How to Report Fake Reviews?
Most platforms (Google, Trip Advisor, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) offer to report false reviews. This operation generally requires no more than a few clicks. It will only take you a few minutes to do this, so you can take care of that as well. Don’t hesitate to encourage your teams to do the same so that it doesn’t get in the way.
Step 3: Respond quickly…
It is possible to create alerts on multiple sites. That way you can get a detailed report on the opinion that concerns you, posted by Google specifically. Do this on the main forums, which tend to be the most opinion-focused, so you can immediately inform yourself of a comment that will be less than complimentary.
Again, no more than a few minutes to create your alert. The main thing is not to leave a negative feedback unanswered for too long. They damage your e-reputation and your lack of response can be interpreted as truth. Even if you want to respond quickly, don’t neglect to receive a polite and non-aggressive response.
Fourth Step: …Okay!
You should not respond in any way as the situation may soon turn against you. So the first thing to do before answering is to think about the words you are going to choose. Speed is essential but execution should not be neglected as you are playing with the image of your company.
First, if it’s not a real customer, don’t hesitate to say so and that you’ve never dealt with him. This is especially true in catering. If it is not, you can give in a private message to your contacts to resolve the dispute. Plan your responses to demand in advance. There is no point in making negative comments in return because you are harming your image more than your image. You can post positive posts later.
- Don’t rely only on consumer reviews
Consumer reviews are not always reliable.
Whether they are false positive opinions posted by a professional, or its communication agency, or negative opinions written by a competitor, false comments on online sites mislead the consumer and distort the competition, even though false comments in France practice is prohibited.
The rules that the merchant must follow when the notice is published on its website
As per the Consumer Code, merchants must specify:
• whether there is a review control process;
• the date of publication of each review as well as the date of consumer experience related to the review;
• Criteria for classifying opinions, including chronological classification;
• Whether consideration has been given in lieu of filing of notice;
• Maximum period for publication or protection of a notice.
In addition, when the merchant exercises control over the reviews, it must also notify Internet users:
• the salient features of the control of opinions at the time of their collection, their moderation or their distribution;
• Possibility, where applicable, to contact the consumer author of the opinion;
• whether it is possible to modify the notice, and where applicable, the procedure for modifying the notice;
• Reasons justifying the refusal to publish the notice.
Warning! False or abusive consumer reviews and positive reviews that are published by the companies themselves or at their request are deceptive business practices, criminalized in the Consumer Code (Article L.121-4, point 21) and criminally liable for 2 years jailed and fined. 300,000 euros (article L.131-2 of the same code). Negative opinions voluntarily published by competitors constitute defamation, insult or slander, which will certainly be studied with caution.